Member Blog Post
Before I begin this article, let me say that I am no vampire novice. I have not only seen every single episode of True Blood, but I have read all 10 books of the Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris. This may make me incredibly pathetic, being 29 years of age and showing no signs of ditching the nerdy lust I have for horror - but it is what it is. Call me an expert. A pathetic nerd, but an expert none-the-less. I am sure my mother wanted more from me than a small horror blog - say grandchildren or a law degree - but here I am instead. Sorry Mom. I digress.
I cannot count the number of arguments I have had the past week over the final scene of the 3rd episode of True Blood.
You know - the scene where Bill turns Lorena's neck around Exorcist style while having hateful, violent sex with her. Yeah. That scene. Call me obsessively analytical, but for some reason I don't think having her neck nearly popped off mid-coitus was what Vampire Lorena had in mind when she said, "make love to me!" to Bill Compton.
I have very mixed feelings about the scene, going back and forth between considering it an interesting plot twist (pun intended) or feeling it was a brutish, immature attempt at shocking the audience with domestic-vampire-violence. At the very least the scene just leaves a few vampire-bite-sized plot holes.
At first, I was both fascinated and repulsed by the scene. It almost seemed to come out of nowhere. Bill had managed to repel Lorena for ALL of last season. Even now, he is technically the captive of Russell Edgington, the Vampire King of Mississippi, not Lorena. Lorena may have orchestrated the entire situation, but Edgington is the vampire Bill has pledged his loyalty to (albeit forced...but forcing other vamps into submission seems to be the vampire way, no?), not Lorena. Bill is imprisoned in Edgington's house - not Lorena's. Lorena's just there - hanging around, simultaneously tormenting and pining over Bill.
This is pretty consistent with the books (more or less), but I will talk about the books later on.
Upon entering Edgington's home, Bill is clearly unhappy when he sees Lorena. In fact, he completely freaks out and sets her on fire. Even after the fire incident, she still comes after him. Lorena has a hard time taking a hint. If a man sets you on fire, he's just not that into you. Fire is not foreplay, Lorena.
Of course, Lorena continues to pursue to Bill, finally pushing him into a corner. She really, really wants him, blah, blah, blah.
They kiss, and with a look of frustration and hatred, Bill slams Lorena on the bed, rips her clothes off and begins to have sex with her in an incredibly violent manner. She seems to enjoy all of this. She thinks she has won her lover back...
...and then...and then it happens.
Bill begins to methodically twist Lorena's neck completely around. She is visibly in pain, blood dripping from her mouth and, in my opinion, is pleading with Bill to stop when she manages to whisper, "I still love you."
As in, no matter how badly you hurt her, Bill Compton, she will ALWAYS forgive you.
So -- why is it assumed that Lorena is back in charge? She has released him TWICEnow -- first in 1935 and again last season, when Lorena crashed a vamp party celebrating Godric's return. It is for these reasons why I don't buy the explanation people give me when they say, "she's his maker and he has to do what she says - she's actually raping him, if you think about it..."
In the books, a vampire's maker is an incredibly important entity in a vampire's life (death). A vampire MUST obey their maker - even sexually (read book 10 if you don't believe me). But has this vampire law translated into the show well? What of a vampire that's been released? Can we even depend on the books to give us a broader understanding of the show? I don't necessarily think so, since the writers of the show have changed so much in the show from what is in the books. The books have become an unreliable source of information at this point.
If Bill was "forced" into having sex with Lorena, why didn't this happen sooner? Like when Lorena held him captive in his hotel room during season two? She wanted him sexually last season - how come he didn't feel "forced" to oblige his maker then? No - not only did he not oblige her, he hit her over the head, knocking her unconscious and fled the scene. If he was "forced" in this last episode, why wouldn't he use a similar tactic? I am sure Russel Edgington wouldn't care much - he did not really punish Bill when he set her on fire, and besides, it seems his affection for Bill is becoming a bit stronger than his affection for Lorena. He no doubt thinks Bill may be valuable, or at least it seems that way.
Yes, Lorena is stronger than Bill is - she is older and she has the added advantage of being his maker. But at the same time, I imagine it's hard to overpower ANYBODY when they are currently twisting your neck like Bill was twisting Lorena's neck. I also believe she loves him so much, she would pretty much withstand any pain he threw her way.
I have come to the conclusion that what happened between Bill and Lorena was nottechnically rape...but it was close. Close enough to make me cringe a little bit. Close enough for me to think back to the old excuses people give for date rapists -- you know the ones: "Oh, she wasn't raped. She was asking for it. Did you see what she was wearing?" or "She was a bitch. Always harassing him. She deserved what she got..."
I imagine some people cheered Bill on because Lorena had tormented him for so long. I think there might be something wrong with that. I just don't know if it's the audience I'm angry with, or the writers of the show. Or if I'm even angry at all. See? Mixed feelings.
If she wasn't raped, she was definitely brutalized - make no mistake about that.
I doubt when Lorena pursued Bill, she envisioned him breaking her neck.
Try to take the sex out of the scene. What if Bill had slammed Lorena on the bed, ripped her clothes off, and then proceeded to break her neck - all without having sex with her. Would the perception of the scene be different? Would people be more likely to admit that it was domestic violence of sorts? Why? I guess what angers me, is I think the fact that he was inside of her - having sex with her - while he was twisting her neck around, makes it MORE violent, MORE brutal and MORE sick, NOT less.
Bill was frustrated and full of hate. He wanted to hurt Lorena, pure and simple. Whether she liked it or not, and whether she will forgive him or not, is NOT the point. His intent isthe point, and his intent was to inflict pain, not to fulfill some bullshit command his maker made. He didn't want to look at her, that's for sure. He didn't want to "make love" to her, either. He twisted her neck around because he was disgusted with her. Even if he "had" to have sex with her, he also wanted some type of revenge. The only revenge he could think of: violence. Intent, in my opinion, is all that matters in this situation.
So why are people so quick to validate his actions?
Is it that people do not want to admit they liked a scene that consisted of a female being victimized? Or maybe they don't want to think of Bill Compton as being a typical, brutish vampire? After all, the entire point to Bill's character on the show is that he is a vampire who regained his humanity. If Lorena deprived him of his humanity, as he says in the scene, again - what's the point of his character? Is he showing how deprived of humanity he has become by viciously attacking her?
I have also heard people making excuses for him based on the fact that he is a vampire, and he was only acting in the violent way a vampire would act.
OK. I'll buy that. Except for the fact that Lorena is also a vampire, so any evil deed she did - from "making" Bill against his will - to threatening Sookie - to holding Bill captive- is validated too. We can't give Bill a free "vampire" pass but crucify Lorena for just simply doing what most other vampires would do. It's a vampire double-standard.
I have a few theories:
(1) Bill is regaining his power of choice. His life, and therefore his humanity, was taken away from him by Lorena when she made him a vampire against his will. That was a form of rape in a sense; it was violent and vampires get off on the power trip it gives them to create other vampires.
In brutalizing Lorena sexually, he recreates what he went through when she "made" him, only by changing the power structure, the victim now becomes the victimizer.
(2) the True Blood writers have created a few gaping plot holes. They have made viewers believe that Bill had no choice to have sex with Lorena because Lorena is his maker. This is a plot hole because of the many reasons I listed previously in this article. She released him, promised to go away, etc. Also, Bill is supposedly a vampire with humanity. By brutalizing Lorena, he negates this part of his character. The Bill in the books differ from the Bill in the television show in this way - True Blood Bill is more humane and emotional than the Bill depicted in the books. The Bill in the books actually does commit a rape, but to avoid confusion I won't go into detail about that. Let's just say it doesn't involve Lorena. Another gaping plot hole is that both the books and the television series serve as a platform to mirror civil rights. Alan Ball has denied this - but COME ON. The less humane vampires seem, especially a vampire like Bill who is supposed to be the poster child for the good vampire, the more True Blood loses it's point. The show revolves around the idea of a good vampire. The books, in my opinion, show us how the humanity we think exists in all of us - human, vampire, Were, ect. is subject to evolve. The show has not really reconciled this yet.
(3) If they try to play off the sex scene as Bill doing as his maker commanded, not only will I gag at the plot hole, but I will then know for certain the scene was only created for shock value and ratings. Something to top the orgy fests that took place last season while the town was under the maenad's spell. Something to give Bill's character more depth - but ironically, I actually think it makes his character more shallow. I will also have a problem with the writers constructing a scene that condones violence against women (vampire or not), just to get people talking about it. If that's the case - more irony: I fell for their trap, and right into their plot hole.
(4) the writers are using this incident to allow the viewers to accept Sookie entering into relationships with Eric and/or Alcide. Whether Bill goes back to Lorena or not, Sookie will no doubt view the sex as a betrayal. Even if she never finds out about the incident, the audience knows it has happened and won't care if Sookie ditches Mr. Compton for the Viking or the furry.
(5) Maybe Bill actually has fallen under Lorena's spell again. Maybe that is the way they used to spice up their sex life when they were still together. I don't know. Maybe Bill will be evil now, or pretend to be evil. Who knows? In the books, he is a true captive of Lorena. No idea how the show will play that out.
All in all, I still have mixed feelings about the scene. Usually a controversial scene which gives viewers a mixed reaction either means the scene was great or it was poorly written. I haven't figured out which yet.
We'll see how episode 4 skews my opinion.
Until next time, True Blood nerds...